The Passing of Radhika Raman Das

By Olessia Podtserob for ISKCON News on 9 Apr 2011
Radhika Raman Das (Paul Asanov) left this world on March 28, 2011, at about 12:00 Moscow time, in Vrindavan. The holy river Yamuna took him.

Radhika Raman DasRadhika Raman Das (Paul Asanov) left this world on March 28, 2011, at about 12:00 Moscow time, in Vrindavan. The holy river Yamuna took him.

Radhika Raman Das repeatedly became the best distributor of Srila Prabhupada’s books in Russia, giving these great spiritual treasures to thousands of people. During the last Srila Prabhupada marathon he distributed 2,750 books, and in all, in the few years that he was doing sankirtana, he distributed 40,000 Srila Prabhupada books.

“Today we turn our prayers of farewell and separation to the blessed memory of this wonderful and selfless Vaisnava who dedicated his life entirely to the service of Lord Chaitanya’s sankirtana. We express our deepest and sincere condolences to Radhika Ramana Prabhu’s relatives, friends, and the entire Vaisnava community. We were friends with Radhika Raman since childhood, since the 5th grade, – says Ananga Govardhan Prabhu (Andrew Bezzubikov) , St. Petersburg.

“We were 13 or 14 years old. We attended the same school. It was school № 46 in Petrozavodsk, Karelia. We played basketball together. Radhika Raman was a skilful and determined player. He even was in team of Karelia and was the best play-maker, he was distributing, but he played very effectively. After school we entered a railway college together. Radhika Raman was a good student, all the teachers praised him, and he graduated from college with honors.

He then spent two years on the railroad as NDT inspector – detecting cracks and other faults in the rails and sleepers. And then he suddenly went to Nemchinovka, Moscow, where there was a Brahmachari ashram at that time.

As far back as 1998 he organized a group Uncola. We were the vocalists. But he also played almost all the instruments. He composed and arranged almost all the songs of the group. The style of our group was something like funk. Though this innovative style was not accepted then, the group was still quite popular in Karelia. We played on the same stage with well-known groups such as, for example, Liapis Trubetskoy.

Radhika-Raman was familiar with many famous musicians. We had been already invited on tour to Finland, but Radhika-Raman left it all and went to Nemchinovka. He talked to me sharing his secret: `I want to live and will live in the brahmacari ashram! Such is my nature.`

He always believed that only sankirtana could help him, and was sure that it will be so. Even his family name was expressive – Asanov.

We came to Krishna Consciousness through the books of Srila Prabhupada, to be precise, the Bhagavad-Gita. Our mutual friend Leonid had three copies of the Bhagavad-Gita on his shelf. I took one to read, Radhika-Rahman took one and his brother Ivan also took one.

Vanya got carried away by the book more than the others. He began to preach vigorously to his brother, the future Radhika Ramana and his mom. (Radhika Ramana’s mother received initiation from Bhakti Vijnana Goswami Maharaj two years ago, her spiritual name is Shanti). We began to observe all religious principles at once. We started looking for Vaishnavas. We found the address of the temple in some esoteric shop … And immediately we went there. There were Vaishnavas, and mataji Sangita was the leader.

Radhika Ramana was treated in a respectful manner everywhere. He was a born a leader, he radiated some kind of natural charisma. I even think that he never changed. He was always like that. The only difference is that he started using his energy for sankirtana .

He was always goal-oriented. I also had no doubt that one day he would become a guru. When Radhika Raman retired from sports, his friends on the team were very upset. However, he never let anyone cast in the lurch. And as it turned out, five guys from the team joined the Vaishnava tradition later, when they moved to St. Petersburg. And some other childhood friends joined too, thanks to Radhika-Raman. They accepted the teachings of Krishna very seriously, quit smoking and drinking.

Radhika-Rahman was a charismatic leader. After he visited St. Petersburg yatra last year, sankirtana there increased four times. However, he never ‘pressed’ anyone on sankirtana, he simply smiled on meeting. He easily got out of any difficult situation. It seemed that Krishna personally helped him. He had an incredible intuition for finding the right solution to a difficult situation. He always forgave and was always kind. But during japa he was extremely serious. You’d better not disturb him while he was chanting.

Where is he now? I have no doubt that he is with Krishna now. 100 percent! He chanted in such a way, that meant only one thing – he spoke to Lord Krishna! “

Krishnadas Kaviraj Das, the leader of the Moscow Harinam festivals, says: “Unbelievable, how much, Radhika Raman had changed over the past couple of years. He was extraordinarily serious. I can not remember when he was joking. He was totally focused on sankirtan and the holy names of Krishna. “

At noon on March 28, according to witnesses, Radhika Raman was running on the bank of holy river Yamuna above Kesi-ghat, and as if playing, he was calling out to Krishna: “Where is Krishna? Where is Krishna?”

Vaishnavas called him: “Radhika-Raman, stop it, let’s go take prasadam!” “Ok, let me bathe once again”, said Radhika-Raman. He dipped into water and … never came up … His lifeless body was found downstream too late. There was only seriousness in Radhika-Ramana’s life over the past years. Thus it is unlikely that he cried to the Lord just in jest.

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